Gratitude As a Habit

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Each year, around the Thanksgiving Holiday in the US, I try and write something about thankfulness and remind survivors that no matter what, we all have something to be thankful for, even if it’s just that we are still here, surviving, with hope for the future. This year, however, I’ve been struggling with the idea, frankly. Not because I don’t firmly believe that very thing, but because I’ve allowed myself to get bogged down in negative thoughts, negative news, and in just being busy.

As I ponder what I am thankful for this year, I find myself thinking about things that I’m not happy about, rather than focusing on the things that I am very lucky to have, my health, my wife, my financial security, friends and family that I love, and so on. Looking at that rationally, I’m not proud of myself for forgetting those things, all the while acknowledging that it’s very easy to do that exact thing. It takes mental and emotional strength to look beyond things I don’t like and find the positive things that are all around us, instead of wallowing in the negative. I have not been practicing that habit, and like anything that doesn’t get the proper exercise, it weakens.

But, now that the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, it’s time to make that change. Instead of focusing on all the things I can’t change, I’m going to focus on spending the long weekend with my wife, having a fun trip and reconnecting with her after being away from home so much the last few months. I’m going to remind myself how lucky I am that we are both healthy, and have good jobs. I’m going to remind myself of how many people I have in my life who care about me, make me laugh, challenge me and teach me new things. Most of all, I’m going to remind myself to take my own advice, be grateful that I’m still here, knowing that as long as I am, I can continue to enjoy the good things in life, and make changes where necessary. That sure beats the alternative.

With that, let me also state, like I do every year, that I am also grateful to everyone who reads things on my blogs, and shares them with the people they care about. I don’t do this for money, attention, or fame. I have been blogging about child abuse and metal health for 14 years because I want to make sure there is always a resource out there where other survivors can know for certain that they are not alone. Obviously, the more people who find this place, whether it’s through a Google search, or someone they know sharing it with them, the more people who can know that, and that’s why I am always thankful when you all share anything.

Here’s hoping that, no matter how you celebrate, or choose not to celebrate, the holidays this year, you find something to be grateful for, and something to look forward to. That’s a sign of hope, and hope is something we can all be grateful for.


Photo by symphony of love

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  1. Thanks, Mike. I’m grateful your blog as it’s well-written, and full of good resources and reminders. Thank you for your efforts. Wishing you and your family a joyful holiday season. Here’s to helping survivors thrive!

  2. I agree. I often look at the glass “half empty”. That is the easy thing to do. It takes effort to look at things that are sometimes hard, and find the good in them. Thanks for the great reminder!

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